ASK CAROLINE: I’m angry that she went behind my back

If you have a problem, email Caroline at Caroline reads all your letters but regrets she cannot answer each one personally

If you have a problem, email Caroline at Caroline is open to reading all letters, but she regrets that she can’t answer every one.

I’m angry that she went behind my back 

Q     My wife gave £3,000 to her friend without my knowledge and it’s left me feeling angry at her deceit. She confessed what she had done about two months later, saying that the friend’s husband had lost his job in the pandemic and they were struggling to pay their mortgage. She said she felt guilty for going behind my back and couldn’t keep it a secret any longer. I was furious that she didn’t ask me first – I’m the only one with a salary and am reasonably well paid – and we argued for three days. It was meant to be used for our children’s welfare. Now, I’m calm and forgiving her. It’s not really about the cash because we can probably afford it as a one-off, and I know how close she is to her friend. It’s possible that I would have agreed. But I feel hurt and betrayed that she didn’t ask me first. She said she was worried that I would be mad. But aren’t you meant to discuss things in a marriage and make decisions together? My wife suggested I write to you to ask you who’s right.


She gave the money to our children. 

   Which of you is right or wrong is actually rather irrelevant – you both have elements of each on your side. But it seems like you have a bit of power imbalance. I can completely understand that you were upset that she didn’t ask you about helping her friend and, yes, ideally she should have done so. The fact that she didn’t because she was afraid of you being angry – which you were – reveals that perhaps you have become the more dominant partner in the marriage. Often one is a little more dominant and that can work well in some areas – but the best marriages are the ones in which both partners are equal. Respecting each other is vital. Your only income is mentioned, suggesting that you might feel the only one. Stay-at home parents often feel marginalized in society, unfortunately. It seems that too much emphasis is placed on what our job status looks like and how much we make. But what you have to remember is that your wife is doing an equally important job in bringing up your children – which enables you to go out and earn a high salary. Please don’t think that I’m being overly critical – you do, in fact, sound quite generous towards your friends, and wanting to sort out what is right for your marriage is admirable. So explain to your wife that you don’t want her to feel scared to ask you about anything. And I’m sure she would agree that future decisions do need to be made together. You should also reevaluate your money management. Personally, I’m not a fan of joint bank accounts because I feel it sacrifices independence, but it can feel demeaning for one partner always to have to ask the other for money, so perhaps you can find a creative way to avoid this.



I don’t like my boss and want him to go. 

Q     I’m 59 and I was going To retire in 2 or 3 years, but really I just want to. quit now. A new boss was recently appointed and is an utterly ruthless bully. Because he was so unfavorable, two of my colleagues left. He was very kind to me and has now started with them. He is always looking for. My work is flawed and I am sorry. recently he promoted a junior colleague over my head – even though I had been doing a similar role for years. My husband says that it’s grounds for constructive dismissal and that I should sue, not just go without a fight. But I haven’t You have the courage to face it. It could lead to the destruction of Last bits of my faith.

 You can have low self-esteem if you work in fearful environments. Contact your human resource department, and if possible your union. You could also contact Citizens Advice ( to check your legal position and rights. You will feel less isolated and stronger. Also remember that bullies thrive on making people feel powerless – and you are not. Keep a record of your boss’s appalling behaviour. Standing up against your boss is a good idea if you plan to retire soon. So don’t reveal your plans yet, and if your boss tells you that your work is not up to standard or makes unreasonable demands, politely but firmly stand your ground. He should know that you have performed at a very high standard. You may have to back off if he appears intimidated by you.